The Hope Clinic is the clinical arm of the Emory Vaccine Research Center, an international Center of Excellence in clinical and translational research in infectious disease (ID) vaccines, treatment, and prevention. The clinic’s mission is to conduct clinical trials for IDs of public health importance (e.g., HIV/AIDS, TB, influenza, diarrheal illnesses, bioterror agenda, HPV). The Hope Clinic is also the clinical core for the Emory Center for AIDS Research and one of four sites that are part of the Emory-CDC HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Unit, a 7-year research award to Emory funded by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases and conducted in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Hope Clinic also receives research funding from the federal government, the biomedical industry, the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA), institutional resources, and philanthropic contributions, including Action Cycling Atlanta, a sponsor of the annual AIDS Vaccine 200 bike ride.
The Hope clinic has been an HVTN site since 2007. Under the direction of Drs. Mark Mulligan (Executive Director of the Hope Clinic, Professor of Medicine at Emory, and Chair of HVTN Protocol Committee) and Sri Edupuganti (Hope Clinic Site Leader, Professor of Medicine at Emory), the Hope Clinic has participated in several HVTN studies, including phase I, IIa and IIb studies. The Hope Clinic has been very successful in recruitment, which can be attributed to their bi-weekly meetings between recruitment and clinic staff, use of mass media and social media, monitoring for diverse representation of study volunteers, and rapid enrollment by generating prescreens for all protocols. The Hope Clinic also participates in studies with other sponsors, including studies with the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), studies funded by the NIH Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit, studies funded by CDC, studies with industry collaborators, and studies focusing on translational research.
In addition to achieving scientific excellence, Hope Clinic strives to strengthen community awareness and relationships with community stakeholders, reduce research misconceptions, and improve HIV/AIDS training. Under the direction of Marcus Bolton, Outreach and Recruitment Specialist, the Hope Clinic’s outreach staff and Community Advisory Board (CAB) are engaged in various aspects of HIV/AIDS awareness and research, including protocol development, study recruitment, and community. The Hope Clinic also trains postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty, residents, international and minority investigators and staff through its Emory Vaccinology Training program, funded through an NIH grant). To further foster a learning environment, all staff at the Hope Clinic are encouraged to attend conferences, trainings, and lectures related to ID topics.
The Hope Clinic’s commitment to the excellence in vaccinology research, education, and community awareness has helped them earn a reputation as a leader in the field. The success achieved by the Hope Clinic would not be possible without strong leadership working together with knowledgeable and dedicated staff, and passionate CAB members.